Catholic Constitutionalism & Homosexuality

The goal of virtue inscribed in human and constitutional rights also curtails legal protection for sexuality that is not reproductive. If rights are essentially natural law, and natural law is another word for the will of God, then rights must sponsor virtue. When the matter at hand is sex, the question is: what kind of sex is virtuous? After centuries of controversy, the Catholic church concluded that only reproductive sex within marriage can be virtuous. Since God mandated humans to reproduce (“go forth and be fruitful”), reproductive sex is in fact a core element of God ’ s plan for humankind, and therefore a common human good. But other forms and expressions of sexuality, such as sex without vaginal intercourse, same-sex relations, and sex outside of marriage are not. Rights cannot protect these choices because rights cannot contradict natural law; they are not legitimate exercises of freedom. Incidentally neither is contraception (God wants us to reproduce) nor assisted reproduction (but only naturally).

The Catholic understanding of sex as essentially procreative is intimately related to a particular understanding of sexual difference of profound theological importance. Men and women are essentially different beings, whose differences, determined by nature, hinge on women ’ s singularity: women ’ s essence is defined as loving and giving, while male essence is not explicitly defi ned qua male. The purpose of women ’ s life, their dignity, lies in the realization of this essence by existing “for the other.” This must not be confused with male domination—a direct result of original sin and not of God ’ s will. Before the Fall, mutuality or reciprocity existed between male and female, as both man and woman existed “for the other.” But God ’ s punishment for sin was different for each sex, and in women ’ s case it included male domination. As a consequence, redemption for women is deeply connected to the fulfi llment of the call to motherhood and family life in service and sacrifice. Traditional gender roles are thus linked to salvation. This explains why the Vatican systematically argues that feminist theories and politics misunderstand natural gender roles. For the church sexual difference entails gendered roles which are not cultural, and instead part of the salvational narrative.

This understanding of sexual difference explains the attachment to and defense of lifelong heterosexual marriage, the rejection of homosexuality, the negative views on non-procreative sexuality, and the defense of traditional gender roles. These are all issues that the Catholic church considers non-negotiable, issues which the faithful must oppose through legal and political activism.

Source: Julieta Lemaitre “By reason alone: Catholicism, constitutions, and sex in the Americas” Int J Constitutional Law (2012) 10(2): 493-51


3 thoughts on “Catholic Constitutionalism & Homosexuality

  1. The problem with this is that you either do not understand the word “natural” or do not understand how to find what is natural. We find what is natural by observation. We observe that gay people are born, not made. Therefore gay people are natural, and so entitled to rights and recognition and acceptance that we are as God made us. Simple.

    By lying in the way you do, you drive good people from God. Shame on you.

    • Thanks for your comments but at QDVF we respectfully disagree on your assertions:

      1) You say: ‘We Find what is natural by observation’. This statement has no empirical support, whatsoever. For example: if I observe a person abusing another person, I cannot conclude that due to my observation the act of abusing others is natural.
      2) You say: ‘Gay people are born, not made’. You need to provide conclusive evidence that this is the case. Science has not been able to do so. However, sacred scripture has conclusively identify two genders: Male and Female (see Genesis).
      3) You say: ‘Gay entitled to rights and recognition’. This is partially right. Gay people should not be abused, discriminated or mistreated; however, there are other rights that do not have due to their sexual inclinations (specially if these cannot be controlled). One of this restrictions is marriage/parenting.

      Our Gays brother and sister have a great cross to carry (ipsus Christe) that asks them to live in celibacy; as such they need our support and prayers; but we also need their prayers (as God will provided them with greater grace to carry his cross)

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